While Bowling Green finished the regular season in last place in the CCHA, the Falcons beat sixth-place Northern Michigan in the opening round of the CCHA Tournament last weekend, sending No. 5 Michigan an alert that anything goes in the postseason.
But the CCHA regular season champions responded with a statement of their own on Friday.
Hosting Bowling Green in the best-of-three quarterfinal round of the conference tournament at Yost Ice Arena, Michigan took care of business, downing the Falcons 5-1 in game one.
Senior netminder Shawn Hunwick shined, allowing only one goal as he earned his 17th win of the season.
Extending their point streaks to four and seven games, respectively, junior forward David Wohlberg and sophomore forward Chris Brown got things rolling for Michigan (21-7-1-0 CCHA, 24-9-4) in the first period.
Senior forward Carl Hagelin — who scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in the Wolverines’ last series at Yost three weekends ago against Western Michigan — set up a nice pass to Wohlberg at the blue line, who put it over Bowling Green netminder Andrew Hammond’s glove. Wohlberg’s goal came with 10 minutes remaining in the first period and was his fourth goal in four games.
Brown also continued his recent hot-streak on Friday, finding the net three minutes later on the Wolverines’ first power play of the night to put Michigan up by two after one period.
A few minutes after senior forward Matt Rust missed on a 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity with sophomore forward Kevin Lynch — one of the Wolverines’ best scoring chances in the second period — Rust set up senior forward Scooter Vaughan for Michigan’s third goal of the game.
It was the nail in the coffin for Bowling Green (3-22-4-2, 10-16-4), as Vaughan picked up the puck inside the blue line and toe-dragged it around the Falcon defenseman before rifling a shot from between the circles past Hammond, good for his 12th lamplighter this season.
Sophomore forward Lindsay Sparks added additional comfort, as he scored his second goal of the season just 42 seconds into the third period to put the Wolverines up by four. Bowling Green scored their first goal of the night with fifteen minutes remaining in the third period, but Michigan controlled the tempo all over the ice from the get go.